She may be an icon to Generation X, but MuchMusic veejay Erica Ehm defies the accompanying tag of “slacker.” Ehm and songwriting partner Tim Thomey have three singles in the Top 40 on Canadian country charts, and Van Morrison used one of their songs,
When Will I Become a Man, on his latest live CD, A Night in San Francisco. As well, Ehm has a regular role as an anchorwoman on the TV series RoboCop, filmed in hometown Toronto. And in September, she will add “author” to her résumé with She Should Talk, a book about
real-life women in such diverse fields as jetfighter piloting and environmental activism.
The theme—accomplishment—hits close to home. Having grown up, sometimes awk-
wardly, in front of millions of viewers since
becoming a veejay Wk years ago, Ehm says she was “drowning for several years.” But she adds: “Thafis just the point—I survived. When you believe you can do anything, you can and you will.” Call her living proof.
A message with teeth
His 1974 novel, Jaws, sparked a blockbuster movie—and a wave of shark paranoia that had people wondering whether they should go in the water. Now, novelist Peter Benchley says, “If I were asked to write Jaws again today, I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t make an animal out to be a villain.” So in his new novel, White Shark, the villain is a human—albeit a genetically altered and very violent one. And beyond the novel’s thrills, White Shark bears a strong environ-
mentalist message. Benchley says that his material comes from experiences near the sea: he divides his time between an inland residence in Princeton, N. J., and one on the Connecticut coast, where the novel is set. “I live where these people live,” he says. “And I see that you can’t eat the shellfish; the bluefish are all mutated now; porpoises are dying of exotic viruses.” Then, in mock alarm, Benchley adds, “And mutant albino monsters created by Nazis are coming ashore day by day.”
Into the realm of the heart
It seems a natural progression. Diane Ackerman’s 1990 book, A Natural History of the Senses, explored the mysteries of human perception, and struck a best-selling chord among readers. Now, Ackerman has gone a step further—into the heart—with her new book, A Natural History of Love. “The minute you start thinking about the textures of life,” says the Ithaca, N.Y.-based poet, author and naturalist, “you find yourself in the realm of love.” In the book, she explores the traditions and the origins of love, from ancient Egypt to the modem age—“the only good time for love in a very long time,” she says. As for herself, Ackerman, who lives with author Paul West, declined to talk about her personal life. “I promised my loved ones I would not discuss them,” says Ackerman. A faithful heart indeed.
Into the light
Prince Edward Islander Lennie Gallant’s first two albums, Breakwater (1989) and Believing in Better (1992), were wildly successful on the East Coast. Now, armed with a new album, The Open Window, and the backing of a major record company, Sony, Gallant’s brand of Down East roots music is destined to reach a wider audience. And that could well put him in league with such popular
eastern acts as the Rankin Family and Rita McNeil. “I think musicians on the East Coast have an understanding of traditional music,” says Gallant, “and just naturally have an element of that in their songwriting.” While his last album was largely a biting commentary on recession and other social issues, The Open Window is more personal in tone. Does that mean Gallant sees the world in a rosier light? Not quite. Explains Gallant: “I guess I felt that, with getting up in the morning and reading all the bad news in the paper, I wanted to do something that was not quite so dark.”
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